Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mother Nature's Gift

So alright, I'll admit it. I've been feeling stagnant for the last week or so. It's not the heat, not my performance, not the hour of the day, not the consistency. It's the route. I'm sick to death of the "Allen Loop".

When we first bought the house, I was so excited that there was a perfect 3.1 mile loop within my neighborhood that I decided to use it all the time, and not go to the gym at all for as long as it remained light out during my training time. It's basically an L shaped loop with the long part of the L being exactly 2.5 miles out and back, and the small part of the L being .6 miles out and back. It runs up and down my neighborhood passing 3 parks and a variety of "green" areas each way. It's idyllic. Really, it's perfect for a runner. The paths are even lines with flowering trees the entire way.

But say I run 4 miles on Tuesday, 3.1 on Thursday, and then bike 4 laps on Monday, and 5 laps on Wednesday. I've now seen each of these parks 24 times. In one week. I've been running this same path for nearly 3 months. I'm done. It also doesn't help that I've been having so much fun in the mountains that I really want to ride/run on trail in the morning, and the neighborhood just does not have the same appeal.

The benefits of it, and the reason I haven't switched up the route, though I have switched up HOW I run/ride the route, is that it's very safe, and there's limited exposure to cars and stupid drivers who don't pay attention at 5am. It's fairly flat so it's a good compliment to the trail running, and it starts and ends at my house. Still, with all that in mind I've just been dreading getting out there the last week. So I've tried to do some interesting brick work, where I ride around once, and then run around once, then ride, then run which did break it up a little bit. I rode around the neighborhood twice yesterday, so I was on the main surface streets. But this morning just wasn't interesting me at all.

I got up, almost said screw it, convinced myself to get up, got dressed, almost gave up when I couldn't find my good socks, found them, got the dogs out, and stepped outside where the sun was coming up as it usually is at that time of morning. As soon as I stepped out of the courtyard, 5 big raindrops hit me, even though it was sunny, and I very nearly turned around and went back in the house and called it a day.

Then I started telling myself that I've actually had fun in the rain in the past, and I'd give myself to the point where I can quickly turn around and run back to the house if it was lightening but if not I was committed to running 4 miles.

It looked weird - sun coming in from the east, yet cloudy above me and raining all around me. I was just running easily, and trying to mentally get ready for this run, and all of a sudden as I reached the first turn around, I looked to my left, and over the park across from me is this unbelievable double rainbow that is arching all the way down perfectly around the park.

I actually stopped dead.

It was magical - I couldn't have drawn it better myself, and both rainbows looked super clear and in fact the bottom one actually started over, so you saw red orange green blue purple red orange again before it faded out.


I could almost hear Mother Nature telling me to take that! and how did I like my route now b*? The flowering trees and parks weren't enough, so she made me an amazing double rainbow.

So after that I was kind of like - wow, ok that was worth getting up for, and the lighting continued to be really weird, because the sun was just coming up, but it looked like spot lights on the trees because it was cloudy overhead. Each time I started to get mentally tired, this gorgeous little breeze wafted in, and then just as I was getting really hot and humidly tired at about 3 miles, it started gently showering and felt awesome.

I guess somedays even the mundane can surprise you. You really never know what you're going to get when you get out there!

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